Friday, May 3, 2013

A Beneficial Course

By Roxie Farina

Have you ever wished there was a course in college that helped you prepare for your very first interview? Well, now there is! The St. Thomas Aquinas College Communications Department offers a course called Business Communication (CA 312). This class helps prepare you for the real world and much more.

Before registering for this class, I was hesitant because I heard how hard it was, but now after almost completing it, I am so grateful that I took the course. I was lucky enough to have Professor Elaine Winship as my instructor. She is full of knowledge and has a lot of experience in the communications field.

Throughout the semester we have learned many useful things, such as creating a professional resume that portrays my skills and talents in the most beneficial way. We have also learned how to properly write a cover letter, reference sheet, and also learned email etiquette. When searching for a job or internship, it is critical that you know how to do all of these things. Before this class, I created a basic resume with all my information on it, but after several weeks of tweaking and editing, I am now leaving this class with a perfect resume. I now feel confident when presenting my resume to future clients on job interviews.

Another great thing that I loved about this course is the mock interview. In the beginning of the semester, Professor Winship notified us about our mock interview with five HR representatives. As weeks went by, we started to prepare answers to certain situational and behavioral questions that they might ask during the interview. When the day came for our mock interview, we all dressed in professional business attire and participated in a round robin interview. Each recruiter gave different types of feedback ranging from advice on what to wear/not to wear to an interview to how we should answer certain questions.

After interviewing for three hours, I left feeling confident about my mock interview. Before participating in the interview I was very nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but after it was all over, I was thankful that I was given the opportunity to practice a real, live interview.

Aside from the mock interview, we also take part in an interview with Professor Winship in front of the whole class. We choose the company we would like to work at and she poses as the interviewer. Before the interview we had to do a lot of research and make sure we knew the company we were interviewing with. By doing this, you are prepared to answer certain questions, and you can impress the interviewer by showing them what you know about their company.

One of the main points the HR representatives made during the mock interview was making sure you know information about the company that you are interviewing with. As you interview with Professor Winship, the whole class is evaluating your performance and how well you were prepared. After the process is over, you are given your evaluation packet from the class.

I felt the feedback we were given was very beneficial and helped make me aware of certain gestures that you self consciously do when you’re nervous. By having this opportunity to interview in front of an audience, not only gives you more experience which will help prepare you for your real interview, but it also helps boost your confidence.

Another way we build our confidence throughout this course is public speaking. Professor Winship also teaches public speaking 101 at STAC, so throughout the semester she would assign small speeches for the class to give. Although some of the information that she shared with us was repetitive, because many of us have already taken public speaking, it was nice to have it fresh in our mind.

Doing these speeches definitely helped me improve my public speaking skills. In many of our classes we are expected to give a presentation at least one time throughout the semester, but this class demanded a little more out of you, which in the end helped boost my confidence. Each time I stood up in front of the class, I felt more and more comfortable with speaking because I was getting positive feedback from Professor Winship about the previous speech, which helped me improve my presentation skills.

All in all, I feel this course should be mandatory for all undergraduate students. This class has taught me so many important life skills that I will need for the future, and it has also helped to improve my confidence level. After a short fourteen week semester, I am walking away from this class with an exceptional resume, a cover letter, reference sheet, experience from two different mock interviews, email etiquette, public speaking skills and so much more. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending a friend to take this course because I truly learned so much useful information during these fourteen weeks.

Roxie Farina is a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College. She is majoring in Communication Arts and plans to graduate in May 2014. After graduation,  Roxie would like to pursue a career in PR/HR.

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